State aid: Commission approves €450 million Italian scheme to support large companies affected by coronavirus outbreak
The European Commission has approved a €450 million Italian scheme to support large companies in temporary financial difficulty due to the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The support, which will take the form of subsidised loans, will be open to companies active in all sectors, except the financial and insurance sectors. The scheme will be managed by the National Agency for Inward Investment and Economic development S.p.A. (Invitalia), which will grant the aid based on realistic and credible plans to be submitted by the beneficiaries detailing how their viability will be restored. The purpose of the measure is to help the beneficiaries address the liquidity shortages they face due to the coronavirus outbreak and enhance their access to financing, thus helping them continue their activities during and after the outbreak. The Commission found that the scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the maturity of the loans is limited to five years; (ii) the annual interest rates on the loans respect the minimum levels set out in the Temporary Framework; (iii) the loan amount per beneficiary is in line with what is foreseen by the Temporary Framework; (iv) the loans relate to investment and/or working capital needs; and (v) the loan contracts will be signed by 31 December 2021 at the latest. The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.64217 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.